THE VERBAL PHRASE Verbal phrases encode our experience of events (activities, processes, states) The VP can be simple and of one verb (stand, catch, waiting, went, caught, etc) or complex and so consist of 2 to 5 words Even when extended/complex with 2 or more items, the VP is replaceable by a single main verb VP can have ff structures: aux(s) + a negator + a lexical verb
The Head The head is the most important item and so is obligatory in the VP structure A lexical verb (stay, came, sleeps, wonder, etc.) or an auxiliary main verb (is, was, has, been, do, etc) feature as the head Examples of VP heads: The stayed overnight They have paid their dues He is intelligent We have your details They do everything He is sleeping
Auxiliaries Up to a maximum of 4 aux verb can preface a main verb: He must eat/ they have slept/ He must have eaten/ she has been waiting They must have been beaten He must have been being beaten Aux are of the 2 types: The primary auxiliaries – be, have, do (carry gram meaning – tense, aspect, person, number); and The modal auxs – will, would, shall, may, etc. (encode modal meanings – possibility, probability, necessity, obligation) Only Primary auxs can function as main verbs The first auxiliary verb in the VP is called the operator Identify the operator in the VP above
The Operator Can be any aux vb (primary/modal) Possesses 4 properties: They take negative particles in contracted expressions: we shouldn’t have come They undergo inversion in interrogative structures: shouldn’t we have come? They are coded (substituted with main verb): I will be coming if Fred will, we shouldn’t have come, should we They receive emphasis: You should have come these 4 properties constitute the acronym NICE HOW DO WE COME BY THIS ACRONYMY?
PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE PPs may have the structure: Modifier + prep + complement Right through my house Quite in front of the shop Just at that meeting THE HEAD: (ref to 534 – 535 for more examples) Always a preposition which may be simple - 1 word (in, before, under, against, about, beside, etc.) Or a multiword: 2 words: but for, as for 3 words: (in addition to, in contrast to, by way of, apart from, by way of Or verbal derivatives (considering, given, including, Unlike in other phrase types, the head of the PP cant stand alone, nor can the entire structure be replaced by a single preposition. Both prep and complement are obligatory
Prepositional complements The main complements are NPs (Ns, Pron) From me,for them, in my father’s house, by the fireside, through his infant soul, throughout his entire years,in accordance with the constitution, as a result of the disruption, on behalf of the organisation Other items may sometimes complement the prepositional head: AdjPs, AdvPs, PPs, Fin (pg 536
Modifiers in the PP Not all preps accept modifiers Generally, ff elements can function as modifiers in the PP: Grading modifiers: Intensifying modifiers: Directional modifiers: Attenuating modifiers: Quantifying modifiers: Descriptive or attitudinal modifiers: Focusing/reinforcing modifiers: English Grammar; a Univ Course – Downing et al. Pg 538 - 539